Donald Ray “Donnie” Risley, who was convicted for his role in the 1997 murders of a Colbert County man and his son on a fishing trip in Cane Creek, has a parole hearing today.
The Alabama Board of Pardons and Paroles will hear an appeal to release Risley, now 36, this morning. If not paroled, Risley is scheduled to be released from prison Aug. 9, 2012.
Risley pleaded guilty to robbery in connection with the murders of Harold Pugh and his 11-year-old son, Joey Pugh. They were killed at the end of a fishing trip July 20, 1997.
Risley admitted stealing Pugh’s truck, while four other men were involved in the killings.
Pugh’s widow, Iris Pugh Gist, said she will not be at the parole hearing because she has been ill for several days.
“I wish I could be there; I planned to be there,” said Gist, who married Steve Gist two weeks ago, 14 years after the murders.
Gist said Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange and representatives of VOCAL, Victims Against Crime and Leniency, will oppose Risley’s release.
Five men were involved in ambushing the Pugh’s at Cane Creek boat launch, intending to steal the truck for a getaway vehicle in a bank robbery they planned in Mississippi.
Thomas Dale Ferguson and Michael Craig Maxwell were convicted of capital murder and received the death penalty. Kino Felando Graham pleaded guilty to two counts of felony murder and sentenced to life in prison.
Mark David Moore pleaded guilty to one count of murder and was sentenced to life in prison without possibility of parole.
M.J. Ellington can be reached at mjellington@TimesDaily.com.